Operating Systems

Automatic firearms can operate in a variety of ways:
  1. Inertia (Blowback)
  2. Delayed Inertia (Delayed Blowback)
  3. Short Recoil
  4. Long Recoil
  5. Gas
  6. Gatling
  7. Chain
These different systems are sometimes combined, especially in larger arms such as artillery pieces. Even in small arms, designers can and have mixed and modified them in a variety of ways, so the categorizations about which systems are used in different circumstances (for example in pistols versus rifles) are simply guidelines.

As this is a general discussion, some clever details of unusual and eclectic designs aren't explored. See for example the caseless Heckler & Koch G11, rotating-feed FN P90 Personal Defense Weapon, gas-delayed Steyr GB pistol, gas-operated IMI Desert Eagle pistol, etc. That said, most of the characterizations in this section fit actual practice well.

Go to First Section in this Chapter: Inertia (Blowback)

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